Union Pacific announces new Big Boy tour

Union Pacific announces that its legendary steam locomotive Big Boy No. 4014 will embark on a second tour this year, with a trip planned this fall in middle America, including Chicago and Houston.

The “Heartland of America Tour” will start Aug. 29 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and include nine additional states: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. The eight-week tour concludes in late October.

Big Boy will make several whistle-stops in communities along its route and hold display days for the public and Union Pacific employees to enjoy the locomotive:

  • Sept. 8: Rochelle, Illinois (Chicago metro area)
  • Oct. 6: Houston, Texas
  • Oct. 10-11: Ft. Worth, Texas

Additional route details and approximate times for whistle-stops will be shared closer to the tour.

In all, Big Boy No. 4014 will have visited 14 states in 2024, including five states during its summer “Westward Bound Tour” from Wyoming to California.

Union Pacific reminds all rail fans to keep safety top of mind and stay 25 feet back from the tracks when taking a picture or viewing this mammoth machine.

That means never take a picture or video standing on the track or the ballast and never climb on the locomotive or equipment.

steam tracking map showing No. 4014’s location and route will be available at upsteam.com.

Big Boy No. 4014

Big Boy is the world’s largest operating steam locomotive. Twenty-five were built during World War II, but only eight survived. No. 4014 is the only one in operation.

The locomotives were 132 feet long and weighed 1.2 million pounds.

Because of their great length, the frames of the Big Boys were “hinged,” or articulated, to allow them to negotiate curves.

They had a 4-8-8-4 wheel arrangement, which meant they had four wheels on the leading set of “pilot” wheels which guided the engine, eight drivers, another set of eight drivers, and four wheels following which supported the rear of the locomotive.

The massive engines normally operated between Ogden, Utah, and Cheyenne, Wyo.

There are seven Big Boys on public display in various cities around the country.

The locomotives can be found in St. Louis, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

4014 travelled over 1 million miles

Big Boy No. 4014 was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1941. The locomotive was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in its 20 years in service.

Union Pacific reacquired No. 4014 from the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California, in 2013, and relocated it back to Cheyenne to begin a multi-year restoration process.

It returned to service in May 2019 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s Completion.

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